The Royal Attire

“He wore the trousers called beraduwanggi, miraculously made without letting in pieces ; hundreds of mirrors encircled his waist, thousands encircled his legs, they were sprinkled all about his body, and larger ones followed the seams.” Then his waistband (kain ikat pinggang) was of “flowered cloth, twenty-five cubits in length, or thirty if the fringe be included ; thrice a day did it change its colours in the morning transparent as dew, at mid-day of the colour of lembayong? and in the evening of the hue of oil.”

Next came his coat. It was “of reddish purple velvet, thrice brilliant the lustre of its surface, seven times powerful the strength of the dye ; the dyer after making it sailed the world for three years, but the dye still clung to the palms of his hands.”

His dagger was “a straight blade of one piece which spontaneously screwed itself into the haft. The grooves, called retak mayat, started from the base of the blade, the damask called pamur janji appeared half-way up, and the damask called lam jilallah at the point ; the damask alif was there parallel with the edge, and where the damasking ended the steel was white. No ordinary metal was the steel, it was what was over after making the bolt of God’s Ka’abah (at Meccah). It had been forged by the son of God’s prophet, Adam, smelted in the palm of his hand, fashioned with the end of his finger, and coloured with the juice of flowers in a Chinese furnace. Its deadly qualities came down to it from the sky, and if cleaned (with acid) at the source of a river, the fish at the embouchure came floating up dead.

“The sword that he wore was called lang pengonggong. The successful swooper lit. the ‘kite carrying off its prey.’

“The next article described is his turban, which, among the Malays, is a square handkerchief folded and knotted round the head.” “He next took his royal handkerchief, knotting it so that it stood up with the ends projecting ; one of them he called dendam tak sudah (endless love) : it was purposely unfinished; if it were finished the end of the world would come. It had been woven in no ordinary  way, but had been the work of his mother from her youth. Wearing it he was provided with all the love-compelling secrets. (The names of a number of charms to excite passion are given, but they cannot be explained in the compass of a note).”

He wore the Malay national garment the sarong. It was “a robe of muslin of the finest kind; no ordinary weaving had produced it; it had been woven in a jar in the middle of the ocean by people with gills, relieved by others with beaks; no sooner was it finished than the maker was put to death, so that no one might be able to make one like it. It was not of the fashion of the clothing of the rajas of the present day, but of those of olden time. If it were put in the  sun it got damper, if it were soaked in water it became drier. A slight tear mended by darning only increased its value, instead of lessening it, for the thread for the purpose cost one hundred dollars. A single dewdrop dropping on it would tangle the thread for a cubit’s length, while the breath of the south wind would disentangle it.”

[Source: Skeat, Walter William. MALAY MAGIC . An Introduction to The Folklore and Popular religion on The Malaysia Peninsula.]


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